Using VMware Workstation7 conversion wizard on XP Home physical machine - can it work?

I am about to install VMware Workstation 7 on a new PC running Windows 7 Ultimate 64. I have the VMware sw and manual, but don't have the PC ready yet. I'm very interested in using the conversion wizard that is included, to convert a WinXP Home physical machine to a virtual machine I can use on the new PC under Workstation. The manual states that among the supported Source physical machines are WinXP Pro, but NOT XP Home. Does anyone know if there is a way to make this work to convert an XP Home physical PC? If not, it looks like it can also convert various types of backup product images like Ghost and Acronis. Might that be a way to get the XP Home machine converted? Or would this approach still only work for XP Pro? Or, it there are any other suggestions for the simplest way to do this. If I have to buy some more sw, I'm not opposed to that. I'd really like to get this existing PC virtualized, and not have to create a VM similar to it from scratch.
DwaineoAsked:
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coolsport00Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi "Dwaineo"...you can try VMware Converter Standalone (https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/?p=converter&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS338US338&q=Converter%20Standalone). According to the user's manual (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/converter_standalone_guide401.pdf), pg. 21, you can convert "Windows powered-on machines"...there is no specific OS type listed. Just install Workstation on your Win7 machine, as well as the Converter tool, then run the Converter Standalone wizard. I haven't tried XP Home, but it shouldn't be any different than Pro...just 'feature' differences is all...the underlying code is the same. You will just need an admin account for the XP Home box and it should work. Give it a shot and let me know if it doesn't work.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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DwaineoAuthor Commented:
Hi coolsport100, prior to receiving my workstation 7 package, and see that it included a "conversion" utility, I had been investigating the VMWare Converter package comments in the VMWare forums. There seemed to be contradictory comments about whether ver 3 or ver 4 was the better to use for various things. So I didn't get around to looking at them in detail, though I had actually downloaded both versions. Based on your comments, I installed ver 4 on my office XP Pro machine, and am testing it on converting a Win2K SP4 machine on my network. These machine are connected over a 10BaseT network. I started the conversion process Wednesday afternoon. As I write this, on Sunday afternoon, it says it still has 18 hours to completion. I was waiting to comment until it was finished, but the Experts Exchange system was haranguing me about abandoning this question, so I'm commenting before the conversion is finished. Assuming it ever finishes, and is successful, I would guess it would also work on an XP Home machine. My home machine has much more stuff on it than this simple Win2K machine I'm currently trying to convert. I'm not sure I would want to wait weeks for the conversion process to do its thing. Thats why I was hoping someone might comment whos actually converted physical machines with this process. Does it normally take this long? Is the slow network partially to blame? Is there a faster way to make this happen? I'm still intrigues that the workstation 7 conversion utility says it can work with backup images. Considering how slow the standalone Converter seems to be working, I'm still wondering if making some sort of backup image and converting that might be faster? Again, anyone who's actually done something like this would be good to hear from. Thanks!
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coolsport00Commented:
Well, mostly v.4 is what you want to use. If you're converting a Win2K machine, I have helped a couple posters on here that state using VMware Converter 3 worked for them, but v.4 did not. They never continued with their question to get the issue of why v.4 didn't work resolved...they just used a workaround solution and closed their question. So anyway...try v.4 and if it doesn't work, you can always use v.3.

I'm a little confused at your post above there. Are you doing a P2V over the Internet?...like, across a WAN, or at home? If it is via the Internet/WAN, it would take quite a while, though it shouldn't take 5+ days. If it's over a LAN, I'm not sure why it's taking that long. I do and have converted physical machines...many of them...all at work over a LAN (100Mb/Full connection). I can convert a WinXP machine in 3-4hrs maybe. I haven't created an image (Ghost, etc.), then converted that, but yes, it does work (have seen many posts on here stating so). I would need more info about how you're doing your conversion (at work, at home?) to comment more specifically on why it's taking so long. Also, how large are the disks you're converting? If they're larger than say 80GB, and you're not using 1000Mb or minimum of 100Mb, but instead a 10Mb connection, then it will absolutely take a while...maybe even 5+ days depending on the disk(s) size your converting.

The quickest way to get your Home machine virtual is to manually create it from scratch. This ensures a 'clean' VM. P2V works, don't get me wrong, but there are drawbacks, one of which is the time to do the conversion which depends on network connection speed, source machine disk size, etc.; the VM could convert, but not boot; as well as other things. Conversion tools (as stated by VMware) are just that..."tools". They always recommend creating pristine VMs. The reality is that's not always feasible nor desirable when an organization has a great number of physical servers they want to convert into the virtual world. Building up many VMs from scratch isn't cost-beneficial.

Anyway...I think I rambled a bit there...sorry. :)  So, just need some more info from you and also just for you to decide on what you're willing to deal with in converting your machine(s). I offer solutions to posters for P2V solutions, but I always *recommend* that VMs be created from scratch if possible.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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DwaineoAuthor Commented:
Hi again coolsport100, I don't mind rambling, as I'm prone to it as well. :)

The machines mentioned in my first comment are connected locally on a LAN here at work. The Win2K machine has a 300GB hard drive, of which about 220GB is used. The LAN in question is not particularly fast. It's running at 10MB/Sec. And even though it said 18 hours to completion yesterday. today it is saying 11 hours to completion. So the time estimates seem to be on the optimistic side. :) So yes, moving 220GB of data over a 10MB connection would be slow, but 5 or 6 days slow? Seems pretty slow.

Yes, I realize a clean VM would be the best way to go, from the VM point of view. But that's not what  I want. I just want a virtual copy of my current antiquated PC available, as is, if possible. This is so I can decommission it. If I can't go the P2V route with it, I'll just leave it up and running, but that would be a pain from a space and power and heat point of view. If I can virtualize it, why not?
When I convert the home machine, I'll be able to connect the old and new machines with a 1Gig connection (at least, I think my old machine has a 1G NIC in it, I hope!) so that should be faster than the test I'm currently running, at least from a network connection point of view. But I also have a lot more data on that system.

You mentioned you've converted XP systems in 3-4 hours. What size of data was involved on those systems? Less than 80GB?

Thanks for your info so far!

BTW: Newegg has really jerked me around on my new PC order. So I don't have the parts yet. And I have to go to the NAB convention in Vegas for a week starting this Wednesday. So, I'm not going to progress much farther on this issue until late next week. Hopefully I'll get all the parts while I'm gone, and get the new system put together late next week. Then I can move on to the P2V project with my current PC.
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coolsport00Commented:
Yes...then it would be that slow. Remember, you're talking about a 10 Mb connection and wanting to convert GIGs of data. I'm not sure about 5 days, but in all honesty, I'm not surprised. Yes, my XP machines were 30-40GB...maybe even 20GB; it's been a few months so I forgot, but yes...less than 80GB for sure. :)

Hmm...let me ask you this...does your source (physical) machine have 2 drives? In other words, is your OS on C: and that drive is 20GB or so and have 2nd drive that's 300+GB? If that's the case, you can P2V just your OS disk.

~coolsport00
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DwaineoAuthor Commented:
My source machine has a 250GB boot drive in it, with about 170GB used. And then there are 250, 500 and 750GB data drives also attached. So, if I don't P2V the data drives, can I put that data on the new PC, and have the VM access it? I guess that's doable, yes?
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coolsport00Commented:
Yes; you're going to use VMware Workstation correct? Just attached those drives to the computer you have Workstation installed on and the pass the drives through to the VM.

~coolsport00
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DwaineoAuthor Commented:
Sounds good! Since this process is going to drag out at least until late next week, and likely a bit later, I think I will close this question out. Thanks for all your help coolsport100. I'll have a go at P2V the boot drive on my current machine, and hope it won't take days with a fast connection. :)
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DwaineoAuthor Commented:
Just an update. I ran VMware Converter Standalone V4 on the XP Home machine I wanted to convert. It had a 250GB boot drive, and I left a second data drive with about 200GB stuff on it connected while I did the conversion. It took about 5 hours. The VM I ended up with was about 440GB. I put the VM files on my new Win7 64 bit PC with VMWare Workstation 7, and pointed it at the VM files, and it worked great! I'm very happy to have my complete previous home XP machine sitting available for use on my new Win7 system. When I ran the XP VM, Windows whined about needing to be reactivated, since it detected major hardware changes. I let it connect online to reactivate, and it did, and was happy. The Norton NIS2010 that was running on the XP VM did the same reactivation thing, and it was happy. So overall, it was a pretty painless process, and I'm very impressed with VMWare and their free standalone converter app.

Dwaine
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